Amer Mohamad has shot the cover images for this and last issue of DNA. He talks career, creativity and intrigue!
When did you take up photography and how long have you been professional?
When I was still at school I picked up my first camera, it was a disposable film camera. I took photos of my friends for fun and that’s how it started. I never thought it would be my career. I’ve been professional for six or seven years now.
What do you think makes a great model?
It’s a combination of experience, spectacular visuals, and a bright personality. Also, communication skills; a great model can communicate something about themselves to the world.
How do you get the best from a model?
I try to make a personal connection. Some models feel more comfortable when they can see how they look during a shoot. They feel more relaxed understanding the direction. During the shoot we both check the preview and work on the visuals together. I usually have a conversation with a model and give feedback. For me, shooting is a collaborative process.
You give them creative freedom?
I usually start by giving freedom to the model, and then I begin to gently guide her or him during the process. All models say it’s very helpful to get feedback from the photographer because it gives them a clear understanding of how the shoot is going.
Does the casting couch really exist?
I’ve never heard of it in my professional circle. If such people exist that’s very sad.
Cameras in smartphones are becoming more advanced with every new model. Does this mean that anyone with a smartphone can become a photographer?
I think it’s amazing. It gives versatility and shows more talents and visual artists. Besides, not everyone can afford professional kits. Now, some movies are shot on iPhones. Smartphones are performing even better than some proper mid-class cameras so it’s a very good opportunity for all talents. I shot a lot of advertisements on the iPhone camera, especially if it’s for Instagram. A shoot with a smartphone camera gives more engagement to the spectators than the professional camera. It gives the feeling that anyone can do the same shot in the same clothes.
You shoot women’s fashion in an erotic way. Is it different shooting a naked male?
I don’t see any difference working with male and female nude models. I have the same approach to fashion as to nude shoots. The person is the main focus for me. I’m trying to reveal the beauty of the human body, the beauty of movements. The quantity of clothing does not matter for this.
Why do you think it’s important to photograph the male nude?
I find a naked body very attractive. It takes a lot of pluck to be naked and to accept yourself as you are. I am personally very shy in front of a camera. From my experience, sometimes people feel better when they’re naked. A lot of models say they are nervous about being shot naked, but as soon as they undress in front of the camera, they feel liberated.
Why do you think that happens?
It’s like telling all your secrets. The person in front of my camera is completely trusting me as the photographer with all of his or her body. It’s very emotional for both the model and me. It’s liberating and looking at the results, we can say it was worth it.
When you’re shooting a male model naked, like Sergey for this issue of DNA, what is most important artistically?
I like to keep it erotic and intriguing. You understand that the model is naked and you don’t see the whole body. That gives the viewer the excitement of imagining the hidden parts. That’s what I like – you don’t see all the details. Otherwise, it’s the same as porn, where everything is visible.
Have you ever had any technical or logistic challenges on a nude shoot?
I have a funny story; when I was shooting a couple for Playboy. The male model had an erection – an erection all the way. The girl felt very awkward but, at the end, she said she was complemented by this. The guy could not concentrate in any way and the erection did not stop.
How do you know when you’ve got the shot?
I have a vision of what I want before I start. I do some preparations, gather visual references, and share them with the model before the shoot. We work towards those ideas. When we get a visual that matches my idea, I’ve got it.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to become a model?
Learn to accept rejection and move forward. I was rejected so many times when started as a photographer. Please know that this is a very big market worldwide, and you can do it here or there. There are a lot of opportunities for those who are looking for them.
Who are your favourite photographers?
I have only one favourite – Tony Duran. He is my idol. He always finds the best way to show the model’s personality in a very attractive and unexpected way. Everyone can feel that he admires the person in front of his camera.